Advent 2022 – Revelation 19:11-16

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.”(Revelation 19:11-16)

The purpose of Christmas and the purpose of the advent season is to focus on the majesty of Christ. The majesty of who he is, the majesty of what he has done, the majesty of what he is doing, and the majesty of what he will do. Majesty, Majesty, Majesty should be the cry upon every believer’s mouth at this time of year in particular. The king was born, the Messiah had come, the Lord had come to fulfill his mission to redeem his people. The other side of the advent coin and really the other part of the king being born, the Messiah coming, and the Lord fulfilling his mission, is that he has promised he will return a second and final time. At this time of year we should be striving to look backwards to what he has accomplished, and we should look forward to what he will do. For the believer, the second coming is a great and glorious truth full of hope and praise. However, for the unbeliever, even if they are not actively aware of it, the second coming is reason for despair, sadness, and fear. The Christian and non-Christian have the same king and the same Lord, he is not those things because you “chose” to acknowledge him as such. He is those things because it is simply who he is. The fact that things are “bad” in the world today is not any sort of proof that he is not actually ruling and reigning today, it is simply proof that he that rules and reigns is long suffering, patient, and merciful. As these verses make it very plain to the reader, there is a time coming in which that long suffering, patient, merciful King comes off his throne to make war against his enemies and to put to an end the long saga that we know as the story of redemption.

The above verses in light of Christmas and in light of his birth, are glorious truths: because of what he accomplished while on earth, we have a reason to look forward to this coming, but we also have a responsibility to share the gospel with all of those around us. We should be filled with a desire to share the wonder of Christmas, the purpose of Christmas, and the work of the Lord with all those around us because we should desire to see as many people avoid the wrath of God as possible. We must tell of the wondrous birth, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ and of all that he has done for us and for those who are his people. Verses like the ones above show the majesty of Christ in a very different light; he is an all conquering man of war and the one before which the Lord says, “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Romans 14:11) The beauty of these verses is also that it puts into stark contrast the western idea of Jesus: an innocent baby who grew into a weak hippie that was perfect and really just wants to love everyone if people would just let him. On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ which, while being a baby and then a man, he was walking as a king, one with dominion and Lordship over all creation. This is a truly miraculous occurrence, the God-man, Jesus Christ, the one who effected creation and the one through whom all creation holds together (Colossians 1:17) walked among his creation, and he did it to purchase the way in which his people, those whom the Father gave him (John 6:37), would be saved.

One reason we should think about the above verses in the context of advent and the Christmas season is because we should be spurred on to action. We must proclaim the good news in relation to his first coming and his mission on earth, because there will be a very real second coming with a very real second mission. This is why advent strives to look at both the first coming and second coming as related ideals. The first offered a “way out” in terms of judgement and damnation, while the second one offers only judgement and damnation for those who are not in Christ. For the believer we can look at the above verses and know that it is our king riding forth to victoriously and with absolute finality declare his dominion over his creation. Like any king of old asserting his rule among the peoples. there will be judgement and wrath and damnation for those outside of Christ. Only through the salvation found in Christ can a person approach advent with a heart of thanksgiving and praise for his first and his second comings. Oftentimes we get caught up in the apocalyptic language of verses such as these, and get hyped up by the movies surrounding the notion of the “end times” and we completely lose sight of the biblical truth; the Lord is returning and there will be a judgement. The time for preaching, teaching, promoting, and sharing the truth of the gospel and the simple call to “repent and believe” is now. As Christians, we have a duty to witness and to share the good news with all because it is the reason we have hope and assurance. As we celebrate his first coming and look to his second coming, let us not lose sight that our king reigns and our king will return.

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